Seasonal Eats: Mango Salsa

mango salsa || cityhippyfarmgirl

It being the height of summer here in Australia at the moment, it’s hard to imagine any day that doesn’t involve hot, or at least a variation of hot. Sure I know it will eventually, it usually does but for the moment it’s all about the heat and how to get through it all without melting into a puddle.

Swimming helps, and oooh yes indeedy it does help. Swimming is divine. Feeling the silken flow of water over your body is one of the greatest things in life. I can wax lyrical on that topic from now until eternity…however it’s not about the water today.

So how else do we cope with the regularly accompanying heat of an Australian summer? Well, I’ll start by doing as little cooking as possible. Sure I still bake sourdough. It’s a baking standard round here. But if I can stretch out the days in between putting the oven on in an already hotter than hot kitchen I will.

Filling bellies is the thing though. If I don’t want to use the oven, and am trying to steer clear of any stove top cooking as well, well that leaves a little less food options when cooking from scratch.

Mango salsa, is thankfully something that doesn’t involve either the oven or stove top. Sure you probably don’t want it accompanying every meal time…but you could certainly give it a crack!

mango-salsa-recipe-cityhippyfarmgirl

Mango Salsa

2 mangoes, peeled, seed taken out and flesh chopped evenly

1 small spanish or brown onion, finely diced

1 small chilli, deseeded if super fiery hot, and finely diced

1 squeeze of lime

1 grated small radish

a generous handful of roughly chopped mint

pinch of salt and black pepper

Add all ingredients together and serve with chickpea pancakes if you don’t mind using the stove top, or a bowl of corn chips, and a cold drink with as many ice cubes stuffed in as possible.

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What’s your favourite way to stay cool over summer?

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Strawberry Shortcake Crumble

Strawberry Shortcake Crumble

How would you describe the taste of a strawberry to someone who hadn’t ever eaten one before? Soft and sweet obviously. But then, then? That’s where my descriptions falter. It tastes like…

I asked the smallest and current hardcore daily-strawberry-advocate.

“…it tastes…likkkkke… strawberry?” 

Obviously not feeling particularly poetic today my girl.

seasonal strawberries

Now the benefits of having a blog is being able to see what you were making a year ago, two years ago, (…or eek, 6 years ago?) I knew it was strawberry season, and I knew I wanted to make something easy. I looked at my recipe, scrutinised it for a second or two and then thought, yeah, I reckon I could go a step further in the making it even easier department.

Blend it!

And so I did.

Here’s the slightly tweaked version. Lots of seasonal strawberry goodness, and really low in processed sugar (1.4 tsp per serve.)

Now tell me, how would you describe the taste of a strawberry?

Strawberry Shortcake Crumble

Strawberry Shortcake Crumble (serves 7)

100g butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of a whole lemon

1/4 cup raw sugar

75g almond meal

150g self raising flour

hulled, washed and roughly chopped strawberries

Pop strawberries into an oven proof ramekins. In a blender, add all of your remaining ingredients together and then spoon mixture on top of strawberries. Into an oven at 180C for about 20 or so minutes or until golden.

Ridiculously quick and easy.

Breakfast Black Rice Pudding with Rhubarb and Lemon Curd

cityhippyfarmgirl

That’s a triumphant jar of lemon curd right there I tell you. I’d tried making it a handful of times and, failed the same number of times. Turns out I was following the wrong recipes. I settled on a recipe from Three Blue Ducks cookbook, (they haven’t failed me yet) and a little nervously began whisking away.

Not long later, done and set. It’s creamy, lemony, doesn’t have lumps and is quite troublesome with a lone teaspoon. Now why had it been so hard beforehand?

Never mind, I had it now, but what to do with those golden jars of goodness?

Apart from the convenient jar with a teaspoon situation, I also played around with some black rice pudding. While I wouldn’t say it’s a tried and true recipe, it is evolving and I will definitely be playing with a few variations over the winter months. If they are flavours you like, have a tinker around with your ingredients and make it to your own tastebuds.

A really easy winter breakfast.

Breakfast Black Rice Pudding with Rhubarb and Lemon Curd

1 cup of black rice

2 tbls coconut oil

2 x pureed soft pears

1 bunch of rhubarb

coconut milk/ or natural yogurt

1 tsp of vanilla essence

lemon curd (recipe found here)

Overnight soak your black rice with cups of water. In the morning, cook the rice up, adding 2 pureed pears to sweeten it a little when you start cooking. Cook it as you normally would rice using the absorption method. Once it’s cooked, stir through two tablespoons of coconut oil.

At the same time and in another pot add your rhubarb. Cut into 1 cm pieces and cook until soft. Turn off and add either half a scraping of a vanilla pod or tsp of vanilla essence.

Serve with coconut milk, (or natural yogurt) fresh fruit and lemon curd. The curd gives it a little zesty sweet kick.

Seasonal Eats- The Winter Edition

brussel sprouts || cityhippyfarmgirlbeetroot || cityhippyfarmgirl

The eggplant and basil have slowly slipped away and been replaced with potatoes, brussel sprouts and beetroot. Meals are being planned around pumpkin, mandarins are being snacked on and kale? Well kale is fairly consistently there.

I’ve said it before, but I will say it again. I feel that we are incredibly lucky living in an area that has such abundance in food varieties, despite the different seasons. The cooler seasons where in some parts of the world, the eating would start getting incredibly restrictive, here just gives us a different array of colours, tastes and still we get to keep it relatively local. That right there, is pretty damn wonderful.

Some delicious things to look out for coming into the winter season

beetroot (roasted and turned into dip)

broccoli (served olive oil and awesome salt)

cabbage (sauerkraut yes please)

cauliflower 

daikon (pickled)

kale (sausage rolls yes indeed, recipe to come for that one)

leek (leek and potato soup)

potatoes

carrots

limes

mandarins

quince

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What’s cooking in your kitchen at the moment? Is it now the beginnings of Winter or Summer for you?

If by chance you live in Sydney and you would like to try out a seasonal-delivered to your door fruit/vegetable box- OOOOBY is offering any readers $15 off your first box if you type in CITYHIPPYFARMGIRL as a referral code. 

Seasonal Eating and Earth Hour

It’s Autumn here and while I’m still waiting to feel any big seasonal shifts in the weather, there has been a slight change in what’s gracing my kitchen bench. Seasonal changes in our food are one of the things that get me really excited. I love having things in abundance, eat them in everything and just when I really don’t want to eat them any longer, the season changes and voila! A new vegetable to embrace.

Others who are also embracing all things food and farm related is Earth Hour this year. It’s on again this Saturday, and this time they are focusing in on farmers and how environmental changes are impacting Australian farmers and our food they grow. (They’ve also put out a cookbook to go along with it- with all proceeds going back to Earth Hour’s work.)

How about you? Are you doing anything particular for Earth Hour this year? Or enjoying eating any particular seasonal or local foods?

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OOOOBY– a super easy way to get some seasonal goodness delivered to your doorstep if you live in Sydney. If you have been thinking about signing up but haven’t quite done it yet. OOOOBY is offering $15 off your first box if you type in CITYHIPPYFARMGIRL as a referral code. 

Earth Hour

cityhippyfarmgirl

An excellent local drop…Krinklewood

5 things my kitchen would be completely lost without

Five things my kitchen would be completely lost without. Not necessarily the top five, but five none the less.

French Breakfast Tea || cityhippyfarmgirl

Tea– completely and utterly lost without tea. I’ve got different types of tea stashed all over the place. Each one for a completely different reason for drinking. Calming, immunity, morning booster, to be drunk slowly. And different teas, different cups. I had no idea I had a ‘thing’ about this until I sat down and thought about it. Standard black every day tea bags? Not a chance. Loose leaf if you please, and rather a lot of Love Chai Love Tea. (I’m up to buying the 500g amounts of chai- told you I was serious about my tea.)

anzac biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl

Something baked– With school age kiddos and one pint sized one. Snacks are a given round these parts. Hunger wails seem never ending, and little containers seem to be constantly refilled.

ooooby vegetables || cityhippyfarmgirl

Vegetables– I can not imagine my world without vegetables in some shape or form. This booty was from late summer, but winter goodies are just as wonderful.

Bread knife– never under estimate the virtues of a good bread knife. Never. Especially when you make rather a lot of sourdough.

sourdough potato and rosemary bread || cityhippyfarmgirlSourdough- Nothing more, nothing less. It’s always there in some form or another. What about you, have you thought about making a starter before? It’s dead easy, give it a crack if you are interested here.

What are five things your kitchen would be completely lost with out?

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Linking in with the lovely Celia of Fig Jam Lime Cordial fame this month. 

 

just a little bread and jam

lime marmalade || cityhippyfarmgirl

lime marmalade || cityhippyfarmgirl

sourdough || cityhippyfarmgirl

Jam in summer, marmalade in winter. That’s how it seems to roll around these parts. A steady supply of preserved seasons to go with the endless sourdough that seems to drift out of my oven. It’s a simple pleasure that never ever gets old.

What have you been preserving lately?

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For something a little different, have a peak at ABC’s Organic Gardener magazine- feeling pretty happy to be squeezed in between the lovely likes of fermentation king Sandor Katz and Kate of Foxs Lane.

cityhippyfarmgirl.com

Eat Local Challenge #2


Eat Local Challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

tomatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

Say what? More tomatoes? Well um yes, that’s what kind of happens when you eat with the seasons, there can be quite a few dishes with the same key ingredients. I don’t mind though, it’s not like it’s six months of cabbage you have to get creative with.

Now for the Eat Local Challenge, I thought I would be a little more prepared this month. Well, I was really. I just hadn’t anticipated riding my bike for an hour and a half to find cheese. It seemed my known and trusted local cheese company was no longer where I thought they were and the French cheese company standing in it’s place certainly wasn’t going to cut the proverbial mustard.

So I kept riding.

I did wonder at what point is the line crossed. How much inconvenience is expected and should be expected in order to support locally produced food?

I ended up with a fetta that’s made in the Wauchope, approximately 6 hours north. I didn’t feel it was a great option as I had wanted to always be able to buy directly from the producer or at least one person removed. However, Hastings Valley Fetta was (at the time) the best I could do. What I could do though, was contact the company and find out a little bit more about them.

I got an immediate response back from my querying letter, and along with encouragement of me doing the Eat Local challenge, I was also happy to read- “All our products are manufactured from our Wauchope facility from the milk sourced from our local farmers. We are proud to support our local farmers and community.” 

What’s on the menu?

Beetroot, fetta, tomato salad

Beetroot from my Ooooby box*

Tomato from my courtyard- hurrah!

Fetta from Hastings Valley, Wauchope

Mint from my courtyard

Chilli from my courtyard

Olive Oil- Lisborne Grove, Hunter Valley

Verdict? Delicious. This salad was really tasty and I would happily serve it up to anyone else that sat at my kitchen table.

Eat Local Challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

Butternut, Fennel and Barley

Butternut from my Ooooby box- Pickle Creek Farm, Cattai

Fennel from my Ooooby box*

Kale from MU Organics, Southern Highlands

Barley from Dementer Farm Mill, located around Gunnedah

Fetta from Hastings Valley, Wauchope

Chilli from my courtyard

Verdict? Well…if you love fennel you are on to a good head start. If you don’t, (as I don’t) you have to think a bit more strategically to get the best out of the vegetable in front of you- and that goes for anything else as well. I should have roasted the fennel and butternut beforehand, it would have given the dish a bit more flavour and less, well fennell-y. If you are not using stock, spices or salt to create more complex flavours you do have to think a bit more on how to make the most out of your dinner time tastes.

No kids versions of this months locally sourced meals, (not a chance they would have eaten these.)

* I did know where the fennel and beetroot was sourced from but mislaid the vital piece of paper.

Tidbits

Planning- Eating locally does take a bit of forward thinking. The vegetables are relatively easy, but it’s the proteins and fats that need a little more planning beforehand.

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How about you? Interested in taking the challenge?

Just how local is local? Well this depends entirely on you. Only you know how you and your family eat. Raise the bar just a little from what you already do. If making sure the majority of your meal includes solely food produced in your country, than make that your challenge. If you want to make it a little trickier, go for produced in the same state…trickier still within 160km.

My aim is to really know where my food is coming from for at least one meal a month, (where I will be posting here in the last week of the month).

For last months Eat Local Challenge #1 see here.

eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

tomatoes, a tart and just a smidge of pride

tomatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

The quietening effect of looking at the tomatoes on the bench even surprised me a little. Eyes slowly scanning over their little green surfaces, searching for that hint of red that would soon burst through. Their tiny foliage hats slowly shrivelling as their connection with the plant in which had shoved them into their small tomatoey glory was now gone.

Unceremoniously yanked out, their yellowing leaves and and wilted limbs telling me it was time. The caterpillars had also moved in, my vigilant watching had wavered and they had seized their opportunity. A greedy multilegged stampede towards the prize line- launching themselves on to the not yet ready fruit. With green tomato stuffed through out their squishy bodies. They would seemingly wave to me in indignation and a last hungry effort as I plucked and squished them off in annoyance.

It was me or them, and I had no intention of it being me. This was my biggest crop this year. No easy feat growing from those small pots in the midst of the concrete city courtyard. No easy feat.

tomato tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

So it was with a smidge of growers pride I made this tart. A simple one, with onions, mozzarella, fetta and those sweet little tomatoes.

Home grown little tomatoes…I salute you.

tomato and fetta tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

Tomato, onion and Fetta Tart

Pastry

200gms cold butter

2 cups plain flour (300gms)

110gms natural yogurt

In a food processor pulse flour and butter until resembles bread crumbs. Tip out into a bowl and add yogurt. Mix through, a quick knead until a smooth consistency and then roll out pastry on a lightly floured board. Roll to the thickness you want (I find this amount is enough for two large sized tarts, and adding it to a greased tart tray.

as many cherry tomatoes as you have

half a finely chopped spanish onion

about 100g of mozzarella

one small block of crumbled fetta

one sprig of rosemary

Lay all ingredients in a layered fashion until it reaches the top of the pastry sides of the uncooked pastry shell and bake until it smells delicious at 190C.

ripening tomatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

Strawberry Season

strawberries

strawberry crumble

strawberries

I had plans of pie. Strawberry pie. It sounded good and I had it laid out in my head. I certainly had the strawberries, but on finding myself in the kitchen…well just quietly, I couldn’t be bothered.

Crumble sounded like a simpler option, and that it was. It took ten minutes to pull together and about 20 minutes in the oven. Easy? You betcha, and at two minutes thirty five to be eaten? Well that was also an easy one.

Strawberry Crumble

100g melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

zest of a lemon

75g raw sugar

75g almond meal

150g self raising flour

hulled, washed and roughly chopped strawberries

Strawberries into an oven proof dish. Mix all of your remaining ingredients together and spoon mixture on top. Into an oven at 180C for about 20 or so minutes or until golden.